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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can Isuzu come back from the brink even after losing most of its models in its lineup this summer? I think so. The HUMMER brand manages just fine with a very small lineup, and Saab and Saturn sold only a couple of models for years. With just another bone or two thrown Isuzu's way, it isn't an impossible idea. The idea that every brand has to have everything from an economy car to a full-size pickup is a rather new one.

Why should GM care what happens to Isuzu's market share? Well, for one thing. every GM or GM Alliance partner sale is one less sale for juggernaut rival Toyota. But more importantly, Isuzu has contributed to and continues to contribute to GM's light truck engines and architecture. The new Chevy Colorado is an example - which was heavily influenced by Isuzu's D-Max pickup not sold here.

Let's face it, the old Isuzu lineup was...old. Outdated and increasingly uncompetitive, despite low prices. The Axiom never really caught on (and like the Suzuki XL-7 was really just a revision of an existing vehicle) as Edmunds.com put it "little more than a rehashed Rodeo wearing nice duds and a Halloween mask for effect." To make it even worse, the Rodeo stuck around, like the Blazer, as a "value" vehicle, instead of passing the torch to the Axiom (which might have given it a boost). Good riddance, I say - although it would have been nice to have seen the Axiom - with a less awkward grille - stay on as a full Rodeo replacement.

The new lineup has the benefit of starting with a clean slate.

Why am I so optimistic? I recently test drove a 7-passenger Ascender and was very impressed. The ride was smooth and the acceleration seemed brisk even with the Inline-6, thanks to a higher rear axle ratio than the TrailBlazer. The interior was well done, tasteful, and modern. I'm not sure what it is missing compared to an Envoy, but I'd much rather have this interior than the one in the Trailblazer, and the Ascender is cheaper with a better warranty. The vehicle impressed me as more than a mere rope thrown to Isuzu - its a golden rope if they can use it right. But even my pleasant experience with the Ascender won't be enough when the rest of the Isuzu lineup goes away. They need something more.

So what should GM do to save Isuzu? I say amplify the Ascender effort, and give Isuzu its pride back with an Isuzu engineered platform - namely the "D-Max".

1. Give Isuzu a cheaper version of the GMC XUV. Certainly that wouldn't require much engineering, as the Ascender is basically a cheaper version of the Envoy. Most of the parts (grille, etc) should just bolt right on. I've long wanted an XUV, but the GMC version is just too pricey for me. An Isuzu version with a long warranty would be appealing, and would add one more vehicle to Isuzu's lineup.

2. Give Isuzu the "D-Max". Keeping in line with the "SUV" theme, give Isuzu a 4-door version of the Chevy Colorado / GMC Canyon. Keep it simple - just the crew cab, in 2WD and 4WD versions. Limit the trim options. Source the exclusive sheet metal and grille/headlights from Thailand if needed and slap them on a Colorado. No one can claim its a "rebadged Chevy and not an Isuzu truck" because the D-Max is Isuzu architecture passed to GM (or "co-engineered", depending on who you ask). Eventually give the D-Max the new Isuzu Direct Injection V6 as an optional engine choice. Or an efficient turbodiesel as used in the D-Max overseas. Again, another Isuzu part to shore up the image of Isuzu engineering and banish the cries of 'badge engineering'.

Some might say "just let Isuzu die in the U.S.". Imagine if Nissan had said the same thing just a few years ago. It's doubtful Isuzu will ever be a powerhouse brand with 10 percent market share, but for every Isuzu dealer lost, there would potentially be a KIA or a Honda to take its place.

Isuzu tried attacking the market with its own vehicles on a tight budget. That didn't work. Suzuki is reforming itself with the help of many Daewoo vehicles - there's no reason Isuzu can't do the same kind of thing - but with SUVs and an SUV-like pickup. I say give Isuzu another couple of GM ropes - an inexpensive effort on GM's part - and see what they can do with it.







Also see article on Colorado / D-Max

Isuzu D-Max turbodiesel
 

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It'd make much more sense to bring the real D-max from Thailand with the turbodiesel, but of course there are those pesky US truck tarrifs <_<

If GM wants to help Isuzu they could convince US lawmakers to kill the chicken tax so Isuzu can bring their pickup from Asia and not just the planned D-max-based SUV (which has been in the works for a while FYI).

Without the diesels I just don't see the point. If anyone can crack the new emissions regs it's Isuzu.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Originally posted by stewacide@May 28 2004, 06:29 PM
not just the planned D-max-based SUV (which has been in the works for a while FYI).
I've heard that elsewhere, has it been confirmed? I thought it was still being debated.
 

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Originally posted by Ming+May 29 2004, 12:07 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ming @ May 29 2004, 12:07 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-stewacide@May 28 2004, 06:29 PM
not just the planned D-max-based SUV (which has been in the works for a while FYI).
I've heard that elsewhere, has it been confirmed? I thought it was still being debated. [/b][/quote]
I heard the US dealers went to Japan to see it and they wern't impressed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Originally posted by stewacide+May 28 2004, 08:24 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (stewacide @ May 28 2004, 08:24 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
Originally posted by [email protected] 29 2004, 12:07 AM
<!--QuoteBegin-stewacide
@May 28 2004, 06:29 PM
not just the planned D-max-based SUV (which has been in the works for a while FYI).

I've heard that elsewhere, has it been confirmed? I thought it was still being debated.
I heard the US dealers went to Japan to see it and they wern't impressed. [/b][/quote]
Probably fearful it will turn out like the Axiom....or the Vehicross...!
 

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I would like to see Isuzu become a cheaper version of GMC. I agree with your lineup completely, but I would also add a small SUV below the Acender. Here is where I would like to see Isuzu's Lineup:

Isuzu D-Max: [Pickup] {Architecture shared with Colorado and Canyon}
Base Cab:
$13,000- (2 Doors, 3 Seater) (2x4, or 4x4))**I-4, I-5 Option**
Super Cab:
$18,000- (4 Doors, 5 Seater) (2x4 or 4x4)**I-5 Only, Turbo I-5 Option**


Isuzu Ibex [Compact SUV]{Architecture shared with H3}
Base:
$15,000- (4 Doors, 5 Seater) (2x4 only)**I-4, I-5 Option**
Sport:
$20,000- (4 Doors, 5 Seater) (4x4 only)**I-5 Only, Turbo I-5 Option**

Isuzu Ascender [Large SUV]{Architecture shared with GMT360s}
SE:
$23,000- (4 Doors, 5 Seater) (2x4 or 4x4)**I-6 Only**
Limited:
$28,000- (4 Doors, 7 Seater) (4x4 only) **I-6, V-8 Option**


Isuzu Striker [Midsize Pickup/SUV] {Shares Architecture with Envoy XUV}
SE:
$25,000-(4 Doors, 5 Seater, Manual Roof and Midgate) (2x4 or 4x4)**I-6 Only**
Limited:
$30,000- (4 Doors, 5 seater, all power) (4x4 only) **I-6, V-8 Option**
 

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Originally posted by Ming@May 28 2004, 11:00 PM

1. Give Isuzu a cheaper version of the GMC XUV. Certainly that wouldn't require much engineering, as the Ascender is basically a cheaper version of the Envoy. Most of the parts (grille, etc) should just bolt right on. I've long wanted an XUV, but the GMC version is just too pricey for me. An Isuzu version with a long warranty would be appealing, and would add one more vehicle to Isuzu's lineup.

Hey Ming, have you passed this good idea of your to GM?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was hoping Bob Lutz was a member on this site. ;) Sometimes I send ideas to GM, but I tend to get form letters back...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Originally posted by Smaart Aas Saabr@May 28 2004, 08:50 PM
Suzuki XL-7 is a redone Rodeo?

You mean Grand Vitara... no?
Sometimes parentheses are better than " - " marks. Changed it. :)
 

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I believe there is a local Isuzu Dealer in St. Louis that still has new 2003 Rodeo's and Axioms. They've been advertising something like $9000 off since late 03.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Originally posted by TaHoE@May 28 2004, 09:09 PM
Isuzu D-Max: [Pickup]

Isuzu Ibex [Compact SUV]

Isuzu Ascender [Large SUV]

Isuzu Striker [Midsize Pickup/SUV]
Cool! I like those names and love all of that pricing and trim level detail.

I like the idea of a 25,000 dollar XUV with a manual midgate, but I'm not sure I'd love a manual roof. Sounds like a back breaker. But you've got to cut costs somewhere, I guess.

Maybe money could be saved by having the tailgate only swing down, instead of the 2 or 3 ways it does on the Envoy?

Doesn't the Envoy have a window in the midgate that is auto also? That was one of those cool features I remember from the auto show. Could have that be manual.
 

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Originally posted by 72lemanscvbl@May 28 2004, 09:54 PM
I believe there is a local Isuzu Dealer in St. Louis that still has new 2003 Rodeo's and Axioms. They've been advertising something like $9000 off since late 03.
I recently purchased a new 04 Rodeo, and got nearly 11K, in incentives, off of the list price. This is my second Rodeo, and I can only say good things about them. They are simple and functional trucks, with no pretensions toward being luxury cars or "bling-bling" hip-hop vehicles. Yes, this platform has been around for a long time, and has not changed much since its last redesign (1998?), but "if it ain't broke......". Both generations of Rodeo were good enough for Honda to use as the base for its Passport. I have several family members and friends that own Rodeos and Troopers, and they've gotten many years of reliable and safe performance from them. It is too bad that Isuzu finds themselves in such a down and out market position. They should have really invested more in their SUV line-up, and found a way to depend less on Honda (and Acura) and GM.
 

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Maybe Isuzu could use some GMDAT products? They're doing wonders for Suzuki! Maybe import the Rexton or something?
 

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Originally posted by parakleets@May 29 2004, 02:37 PM
I recently purchased a new 04 Rodeo, and got nearly 11K, in incentives, off of the list price.
Does your Rodeo have the direct injection 3.5L? I'm curious how strong in feels, and especially in it's mileage. If it is, how does it compare with your previous Rodeo?

Inquiring minds want to know.
 

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I really don't see the point of keeping Isuzu. Aside from Isuzu being one of the oldest light vehicle makers in Japan, they don't offer much else. Comparing Isuzu to Nissan of a few years ago (or VW or even Hyundai)...doesn't make much sense. While Isuzu was a novelty with the popularity of the Trooper, Impulse, and Rodeo, the rest of their lineup has always ranked as also-rans.

Nissan was popular as Datsun and has returned as Nissan. Volkswagen...well, everyone knows the great popularity of VW in the 1960s and 1970s. Hyundai sold more vehicles in its second year in the US than Isuzu sold in ANY year they've in the New World. I'd even rank their worst years among Isuzu's best.

GM has already taken everything of value from Isuzu. The only argument I could possibly make for keeping Isuzu around is for the dealers. But since nearly all dealers have other franchises (only 24 of 436 are stand-alone)...and from the dealers I've seen, Isuzu's not all that important to them, I don't even think the dealers would care too much if Isuzu closed up shop in the US.

Giving Isuzu vehicles like the XUV would only further reduce the importance of the GMC brand and the entire GMT360/370 lineup. With Isuzu selling only 3,377 Ascenders last year (their first full year), I don't see the dealers waiting around for new products. The local dealer has a dedicated showroom...only 7 new Isuzus and NO Ascenders in the lot. I think it's a vision of the future.

If you want an Isuzu...get yours while you can.
 

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Originally posted by MelvinJ+May 29 2004, 09:06 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (MelvinJ @ May 29 2004, 09:06 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-parakleets@May 29 2004, 02:37 PM
I recently purchased a new 04 Rodeo, and got nearly 11K, in incentives, off of the list price.
Does your Rodeo have the direct injection 3.5L? I'm curious how strong in feels, and especially in it's mileage. If it is, how does it compare with your previous Rodeo?

Inquiring minds want to know. [/b][/quote]
I did not get the Direct Injection engine. The dealership where I bought my current Rodeo only had Direct Injection on 2WD models. As I live in the northeastern corner of the U.S., I wanted 4WD, for winter driving. Gas mileage on the two Rodeos that I have owned has not been bad, at least for a mid-sized SUV. I think its something like 20 MPG on the highway, and 15 around town. The Direct Injection motor is supposed to offer better economy, and puts out 250 HP. The 205 HP base engine, in my Rodeo, is certainly powerful enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Originally posted by RCtennis3811@May 29 2004, 11:07 AM
Maybe Isuzu could use some GMDAT products? They're doing wonders for Suzuki! Maybe import the Rexton or something?
I was thinking the same thing. And with gas prices so high, maybe a miserly vehicle would be good.

Maybe a Suzuki Forenza wagon, with a beefed up suspension and beefier tires would make a decent entry vehicle.

 

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Originally posted by Ming+May 30 2004, 10:28 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ming @ May 30 2004, 10:28 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-RCtennis3811@May 29 2004, 11:07 AM
Maybe Isuzu could use some GMDAT products?  They're doing wonders for Suzuki!  Maybe import the Rexton or something?
I was thinking the same thing. And with gas prices so high, maybe a miserly vehicle would be good.

Maybe a Suzuki Forenza wagon, with a beefed up suspension and beefier tires would make a decent entry vehicle.

[/b][/quote]
So kind of like a Volvo XC70 or Audi Allroad but cheaper? Well, then they'd have to put in a bigger engine and I think that's the most powerful GMDAT 4-cylinder available....sadly
 
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